A regular sex life is good for your health. So why the dry spell? Here’s how to beat the top 10 sex busters.
You’re not alone
Not getting any? You’re not alone: Women today have less time for sex than their 1950s counterparts. And it’s estimated that 40 million Americans have what experts call a sexless marriage (having sex less than 10 times a year).
A regular sex life is good for your health. It can satisfy all sorts of emotional- and physical-intimacy needs and help partners stay close, says Anita H. Clayton, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia and author of Satisfaction: Women, Sex, and the Quest for Intimacy.
So why the dry spell? You can chalk it up to a sheer lack of time, but there are a slew of other reasons, too—from weight gain and perimenopause to technology overload (stop texting now) in the bedroom. Here’s how to beat the top 10 sex busters.
Your bed isn’t sexy anymore
We hear it over and over again: The bed should be used for sex and sleep only. So why do so many of us insist on bringing third parties—laptops, PDAs, Law & Order—into the boudoir? All that technology and distraction can cause insomnia and put a damper on your sex life. After all, it’s harder to initiate sex if your spouse is hiding behind a newspaper or glued to the TV or if your hands are busy exploring the Web rather than his body.
Sex Rx: At a minimum, make the bedroom a no-technology zone, Clayton suggests. Then take a hard look at your life (from romance and work to entertainment and family), and give sex the priority it deserves. If you have to schedule sex like you do a meeting, do it!
Your meds are stealing your sex drive
Oh, the irony. You start taking oral contraceptives (OCs) so you can have worry-free sex. Then the magic little pills start sapping your sex drive. Why? OCs contain estrogen, which increases the production of a protein called sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), says Michael Krychman, MD, medical director of sexual medicine at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California. SHBG can trap testosterone, affecting your sex drive. Other potential sex-drive-stalling meds: those that reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and acid reflux, and antidepressants.
Sex Rx: Ask your doc about the sexual side effects of all of your drugs. You may also want to try a contraceptive method that doesn’t use hormones, such as condoms, a diaphragm, or an IUD.
Your crazy-busy life
You spend your days working, cooking, working out, taking care of the family. And, still, at 11:30 p.m. Besides totally tuckering you out, the chronic stresses of modern life can also trigger a cascade of hormonal changes that mess with your body’s sexual-response cycle. And here’s another modern sex buster that adds to all the craziness: today’s always-connected technology.
Sex Rx: With spontaneous sex almost out of the question, you need some serious “life management” to work it in, experts say. Put a lock on the master bedroom door and set a technology time limit. Shift gears with a soothing bath, suggests Los Angeles–based sex therapist Linda De Villers, PhD. Plunging into warm water takes you away from the laptops and cell phones that clog up your day. Add a few drops of ylang-ylang essential oil; the aroma is thought to heighten sexual feelings.